Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee Endorses Brunner for Chief Justice
February 17, 2022 (COLUMBUS) — The Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee voted unanimously this evening to endorse Ohio Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner in her campaign for Chief Justice in the November 8 election. The committee also voted to endorse the other two Democratic Supreme Court candidates, Judge Terri Jamison of the 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus and Judge Marilyn Zayas of the 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
“Ohio Democrats are proud to endorse Justice Brunner and Judges Zayas and Jamison, and we’re excited about the strong candidates we have running. We’re confident we will have a strong, diverse ticket coming out of the primary elections and lead us to victory in November,” said Chair Liz Walters.
According to ODP bylaws, the Executive Committee shall be called for a meeting before the primary election and the Committee must carefully consider an endorsement in each race. Before tonight’s endorsement vote, the Party convened a screening committee made up of members of the Executive Committee that met with each candidate. The candidates also filled out questionnaires and were vetted thoroughly.
Brunner would become the first Democrat elected Chief Justice since 1978 and the first Democratic woman to ever serve as Chief Justice. Ohio could see its first Democratic majority on the Ohio Supreme Court since 1986.
“I am grateful for the support of the Ohio Democratic Party. Courts belong to the people and I will work hard in this campaign and on the bench to earn the confidence of Ohioans in their courts,” Justice Brunner said.
Justice Brunner announced her candidacy in June and in September released a broad policy agenda and vision to lead the third branch of Ohio government. Her Republican opponent has not released any proposals for how she would lead the courts of Ohio and has been critical of many of the court’s recent reforms for fairness in the criminal justice system.
“I am running for Chief Justice because I care about the future of the Ohio Supreme Court and want to ensure it is responsive to Ohioans’ needs for fairness, equality and respect in administering justice in this state,” Brunner said. “The Chief Justice has the power to shape the administration of justice and the practice of law in the state.”
The Ohio Constitution provides that the Chief Justice exercises superintendence of the Ohio judicial system according to the high court’s rules. Brunner is the only other member of the court other than the current Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who holds experience managing a statewide office and network of local offices throughout the state, as Ohio’s 152nd Secretary of State.
Among other extraordinary powers, the Chief Justice:
- Decides on motions for disqualification for judges on the lower courts when parties assert the judge has a conflict.
- Assigns visiting judges and justices to hear cases when a judge or justice is disqualified or otherwise unable to hear cases.
- Appoints the judges to the Ohio Court Claims, which has exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases involving plaintiffs seeking money damages against state entities.
Brunner was elected as an Associate Justice in November 2020, defeating incumbent Justice Judith French 55.3% to 44.7% garnering 2.69 million votes statewide. She won 14 of Ohio’s 16 Congressional districts, including 10 Republican Congressional districts. Brunner has never lost a general election.
Previously she served as a judge of the Tenth District Court of Appeals and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. As a trial court judge, Brunner founded the county’s adult felony drug court, known as the TIES (Treatment is Essential to Success) Program, now in its 17th year of operation. She served as Ohio’s first and only female Secretary of State from 2007-2011, earning the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the nation’s most prestigious award for elected public servants.